[dropcap]P[/dropcap]icturesque Stellenbosch is fast becoming the athlete’s mecca for training during the European winters. It only 1-2 hour time difference and flight time less than 12 hours from Europe. It offers stellar training facilities, hilly terrain, and Mediterranean climate. A recent local initiative set up by Stellenbosch trail fund STF to create and upgrade an extensive network of mountain biking trails and trail running routes is further making it a unique playground to sports enthusiast, which is accessible all year round.
The town itself has an incredible restaurant and coffee-shop scene, offering visitors an array of cuisines, wine shops, artisanal bakeries and coffee roasters, as well as a weekly farmers’ market with local and regional vendors.
Stellenbosch is nestled in the heart of South African wine region, graced with traditional Cape Dutch architecture and streets lined with oak trees. There are nearly 200 wineries in Stellenbosch, and hundreds more in the greater Cape Winelands region.
Stellenbosch normally receives about 673mm of rain per year and it receives most of its rainfall during winter (May-September) and such typically a Mediterranean climate.
Why is Stellenbosch such a standout training location?
What truly separates Stellenbosch from other popular training destinations is price, a decent coffee or glass of wine can be found at a fraction of the cost in Europe or US. Be it a group ride or meeting the family at the end of a ride on vineyard for wine taste or mouthwatering picnic; if not enough yards throw in an open water swim after a hot ride before devouring local produce from its winery’s deli. For the more serious athlete all the facilities from state of the art outdoor 50m pool various gym facilities, rubbery and grass track, freely accessible freshly rolled cricket pitches for early morning recovery runs or recovery facilities. The town is usually teeming with athletes, ensuring the widespread availability of healthy foods and all things sport talk, such a concentration of fitness-minded people raises the level of athletic support available. From athlete’s point of view, it the main factor that makes Stellenbosch’s charming setting a standout training locale is its resources.